Coach Tubby Smith said today on the first Big Ten coaches conference call that he and his staff would be making a decision "soon" on whether to use a redshirt for freshman Wally Ellenson.
Ellenson broke a bone in his left hand prior to the Gophers’ preseason slate. The freshman’s cast came off a couple of weeks ago and he has been practicing and traveling with the team.
“I’m going to talk to him today probably and come up with something definitive and move on,” Smith said.
The Gophers have already decided to redshirt their other freshman, forward Charles Buggs, who showed good potential in the preseason, but who still has plenty of growing and bulking to do.
Ellenson, who plays on the wing, could hypothetically help the Gophers with shooting – which has improved from a year ago but is still inconsistent at times. But the struggle would be finding a place for the Wisconsin native to play. One option would be for him to take minutes from Julian Welch, who is meant to be one of the Gophers’ sharp shooters but has been in a slump for most of the year. Smith played Welch 17 minutes in Minnesota’s win over USC, however, and Welch played perhaps his best game of the year -- suggesting that the coach is willing to work with the senior.